THERE IS NO RIDE LIKE COLLEGE BASKETBALL! (Hoosiers Big Ten Tournament Pt. 2 of 5)

This is why we do this to ourselves. That feeling we have right now. This is why we are glued to our seats each and every single game. Because the lows of college basketball, make highs like this so much sweeter. I could not believe what I was witnessing… I just saw Indiana make a 28 to 4 run to close out what appears to be a tournament bid solidifier. Writing that after watching the course of this season is almost unbelievable. I say “almost” because there were hints of THIS squad sprinkled earlier in the season.

Early 19th Century writer William Hazlitt once said, “If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory”. And I believe that quote rings true throughout the Hoosier’s response to Michigan’s first half ravaging. The guys came out of halftime with the faith that they were not out of it. I’ll be the first among us to admit I was resigned to defeat by halftime. Who could blame me? I am just so glad our Hoosiers did not fall into that mindset at all. We saw a team with faith in each other, come out and fought their way back into the NCAA tournament in that second half! The craziest thing is you can see their faith and confidence just snowball out of control. It was truly special to witness. The Indiana team in that second half, was no team I’ve watched this year. They played with confidence. The shots weren’t taken in fear, as so many appear to have been in our prior 8 games or so.

Tjd had a gre….. sorry.

TJD!!!!!!! was a man possessed in that 2nd half. That is what he is capable of when playing at his most confident, and trusting that his guys will open the floor just enough for him to mess up the paint! 19 second half points while holding Hunter Dickinson to 2 points in the second half. Trayce has this in him. I just hope to God he realized it this game and can carry this confidence into Illinois.

That was fun basketball to watch, and the guys looked like they were legitimately enjoying their time on the court for the first time in who knows how long. Shooting is contagious, confidence is contagious, and playing with an edge is contagious. I honestly am picking my brain for a different word, but the only word I can really use to describe the x factor of that second half is “swagger”. Our Hoosiers looked to be carrying themselves like a new group of men out there. The boys got on a run, built their confidence and started believing in themselves. The swagger was a product of that and I am here for it.

Geronimo with the +22 while giving Race the rest he needs is the stuff March legends are made of.

We needed this one against Michigan folks. With a shot to play for the NCAA tournament still a very real possibility, Indiana had to do everything in its power to will out a win after the crushing blow that was that 2 point Purdue loss. And after a crushing first half, mental toughness and self confidence prevailed. I’m proud of our team for this one.

But alas… we’ve got a big one ahead of us! Illinois is the 1 seed for a reason, they are a powerful team this year. But the team I just saw come out at the half was a collection of world beaters. After watching what may be the most emotionally exhausting season of Indiana Basketball I can remember, I am confident that this can carry over into the next. Meaning Indiana will be getting hot at the most important time to. March. While the evidence to the contrary is apparent through our season I will say there is a difference. Indiana didn’t just steal a game back in the second half. They came out and dictated it. Dictated the game in a manner that has yet to be seen this season. I am so glad this game is the very next day. Doesn’t give the guys time to get in their own heads and thus get in their own way. Don’t think, just trust. Trust your game, trust your brothers’ games, and trust that the Hoosiers can be absolutely dominant.

On to Illinois!!!!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!

-pt 1 of 4: https://flyoverwire.com/2022/03/09/your-indiana-hoosiers-vs-michigan-wolverines-primer-big-ten-tournament-pt-1-of-4/

Your Indiana Hoosiers vs. Michigan Wolverines Primer (Big Ten Tournament Pt. 1 of 5)

So our boys are heading into to the game tomorrow in the #9 seed facing off with the #8 seed Michigan. Now at the beginning of the season I fully expected for us to find ourselves playing on Thursday for Mike Woodson’s debut Big Ten tournament. Who I did not expect to see playing Thursday at the beginning of the season was the Michigan Wolverines. I mean guys… I know we’ve taken some tough heartbreak this season… but Michigan’s season must be another rollercoaster of let downs. Being preseason #6, they thought the Big Ten was there’s to lose, and if everyone’s honest with themselves, so did the rest of the Big Ten. But here we both find ourselves playing in the same game to potentially square off against the #1 seed Illinois.

Both of these team’s are currently sitting just on the fringe of most bracketology reports. ESPN has Indiana as the first team out, while Michigan is one of the last four bye teams so one of the last 8 in reality. Which means both teams will be giving it their absolute all Thursday.

Indiana needs guys willing to shoot. We ended that last Purdue game down 2 points. For the final 10 minutes of that bout, our boys were passing up wide open shots like the entire team had no interest in scoring. Nobody wanted the pressure of potentially missing that shot so nobody took it. They flipped the ol “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote, and made it “you miss 0% of the shots you NEVER take”.

So Xavier Johnson (1st Indiana All-time heart team if you ask me) put it upon himself to win the game. Taking poor shots, sure, but shots that needed to be taken with the mentality of his teammates at the time. And that’s not to say they weren’t putting forth an effort it was just everyone else was playing so timid, that Xavier had no choice but to be a little reckless if we had any shot in that one.

He’s going to do everything he can to take care of us.

After pondering what it will take to beat Michigan, I really saw two glaring issues that need to be addressed.

First, our boys need to bring their hands this game. The Hoosiers seemed to be playing volleyball with their rebounds last weekend. Like past the point of errors, into full blown yips territory with it. We were tipping every rebound in every possible direction it seemed. That cannot happen Thursday or we are dead in the water. The only thing that kills momentum more than a dagger three pointer, is a second chance dagger three pointer. We definitely had a few of those last game. While Purdue was dribbling off their own feet to keep us in that game, we just can not count on Michigan to be so courteous. Grab the ball, record the board, and let’s get on with it. Can’t be ping ponging it around the basket with Michigan.

Second, the Hoosiers ABSOLUTELY MUST be willing to fail. Theordore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Our boys played timid in West Lafayette. If they can step up their own confidence and trust their game to take more chances we could eliminate the need for absolutely bananas shots from Xavier Johnson (again no disrespect on him. The man did what had to be done. Left it all out there for better or worse). What have you got to lose boys? Indiana is a rabid, very well versed fan base. I can’t speak for everyone. But I’m not expecting world beaters to all of a sudden show up. All I really want is to see the team play with more confidence… and in turn, really just more fun. What’s fun about timid play. Isn’t fun to watch, can’t imagine it’s too fun too play.

All talk of confidence and fun aside, this is a huge game. MASSIVE. Indiana looks to have a 3rd chance to make a last ditch statement to get into the tournament. Beat Michigan we are mmmaaayyybbbeee in the dance, barring just a slew of tournament upsets resulting in automatic bids being dished out to otherwise excluded teams around the country. Beat Michigan and Illinois, we are in. I have to imagine that if it’s between Indiana and a mid major jockeying for an at large bid, a tie in resume would go to Indiana. Because, the selection committee can say there is nothing but the resume considered, but they would definitely like the large and willing to spend Indiana fan base to be attending the NCAA tournament.

So here’s to 3rd times the charm on big, crucial, resume building games after the Rutgers and Purdue losses. Here’s to Mike Woodson giving us games in March to care about again, even in this his transition year. And here’s to gassing our boys up. Confidence will be crucial in this one.

Lastly, Mike may want to keep a lookout for rogue head palmings.

On to dismantling the Big Ten starting with Michigan,

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Why Purdue is STILL Indiana’s little brother (an observation on what matters in College Basketball)

So I was defending my comments regarding Purdue still being Little Brother to IU in the comments of various boards, Twitter (@flyoverwire) and facebook, and figured I’d just really lay out my defense rather than keep defending my points in the comment sections. I want to lay out the facts and really “hammer” it home to all of you that Purdue is still very much little brother, and I think anyone with half a mind for what the top teams are really vying for in college basketball would agree.

Just a little backstory. I graduated from Indiana with a history degree. While that certainly didn’t give me the keys to the Brinks truck after graduation, it certainly gave me a hunger and appreciation for perspective. Because really, that’s all history is. Perspective on the past. That if understood, can help with your present or provide any sense of foresight for things to come. And I have to say whoever thinks Purdue is now Big Brother of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry, lacks perspective.

Let me give you some.

It’s 1980. President Reagan was just elected to his first term as the President of the United States. The top song is “Call Me” by Blondie. And the US Men’s hockey team just beat the Rooskies in the “miracle on ice”. That March Purdue Men’s Basketball played in their 2nd and most recent final four appearance…

That’s right. This was the fashion during Purdue’s last Final Four…

Actually kinda drippin’

0 NCAA Championships… I don’t know why this post has to continue any farther than that. Zero. And you can say we haven’t had one in decades. To which I’d respond at least we made a Final Four in the current millenia (2002).

Sure they’ve won 10 of our last 11 matchups… sure. But we’ve been to 8 of the last 10 (also the last 4) Final Fours among the two of us. So all you “what have you done for me lately” folks saying they’re the bigger program now… I could argue what has Painter done for the Boilermakers lately?

I would say you can settle for Big Ten Titles and sweet 16 exits, but that’s not our goal in Bloomington. We are going to try everything we possibly can to get back to the National Championship. If that means down years, heck down decades, on our way to another title, so be it. The next title is always the sweetest. So we will chase that centuries if need be (God I hope not). The real ones here know settling for the annual tournament exit is not an option.

We strive for far more than our Purdue breathren. In the words of the philosopher-poet Robert Matthew Van Winkle… (Vanilla Ice), “anything less than the best is a felony”.

Please put that quote on my tombstone.

I’m sick of hearing even a few Indiana fans gas up Matt Painter. Guess what you hypocrites, if an Indiana coach was here for as long as he’s been at Purdue we’d expect him to have 3 made final four appearances and have won at least one national championship. That Indiana coach would never get the chance to win as many games as Painter has because the same people who gas him up in the Indiana camp, are some of the same people who would be calling for an IU coach’s head for not doing diddly squat in the tournament. No Final Fours. Not one in 16 years with Painter. If any Indiana Coach let us down in the tournament that consistently we would have fired him ten times over. Heck, we did it with Crean. And he was only half the tease Matt Painter is. That’s what you call higher standards. And we do have just that, higher standards. Mike Woodson is currently sitting at .500 against Matt Painter and also already has the same amount of final four appearances, and National Championships for that matter (0). Facts. Very. Recent. Facts.

You can say we are tied to our history too much but anyone who has common sense on what really matters, Final Fours and Championships knows Purdue hasn’t done squat to take the Big Brother monicker from us. Anyone who doesn’t think that… think bigger. College Basketball amongst the TRULY elite schools out there is an all or nothing game. You either get all of the glory with a national championship or you end up with nothing to show for it.

So you say “Purdue has more Big Ten Titles“…

In the national zeitgeist do you think Big Ten Champs are remembered?… GET OUT OF HERE!!! To the common fan nationwide the Hoosiers are synonymous with basketball, because Indiana’s got serious hardware. Some serious hardware collecting some serious dust, but nonetheless there isn’t a bare trophy case! OH!!! Sorry, Purdue did have that one retroactively awarded pre-NCAA, pre-integration, and pre-crossover “national title” in 1932.

This is Rucker Park legend and drug kingping Pee Wee Kirkland, credited with inventing the crossover. (He was born 12 years AFTER Purdue’s only “title“)
Credit:slamonline.com

Yeah… we rushed the court against Purdue this year. I’m not proud of the younger, less versed Indiana fans for that one. In their defense, that student section is packed to the brim with young, dumb, and drunk kids (I know because I was one of them). They lack PERSPECTIVE. Also, I’ll give them a little more leniency for being a minor milestone on our track to turning this program into a title contender again. Mike Woodson did in his first matchup what Archie couldn’t in 7. And come on, when you’re in college aren’t you looking for any reason to throw a party?!

I may be a dumb Indiana fan boy… but I know history remembers the champions. Everybody asks “what have you done for me lately?” I say what has Purdue done for their fans lately?!?! Except let them down in March to an extent that would never be accepted in Bloomington. We expect more because we’ve had more. And I for one don’t want to settle for less than our greatest efforts, trying anything and everything to get back there. I think Matt Painter’s had enough squads with enough talent have their expectations dashed to know… HE AINT IT CHIEF!!

All this being said, I’ll be the first to point out that this could be seen as Purdue living rent-free in my mind. But that isn’t it. It’s people who can’t see the forest for the trees. What is the point of all this but to be the best? Indiana has been the best before, so we are always striving to get back there. That’s why we would never accept Painter’s current tenure. Everyone wants to anoint him a living legend coach, but what has he got to show for it?!!! Jack squat.

Would any of us really accept the “stability and success” of the Painter era? 16 seasons. No Final Fours. You can be stable amongst the second tier all you’d like. I’d risk losing seasons in the pursuit of a national championship any day.

Until they win anything that demands NATIONAL attention, they will continue to live in our shadow. Don’t ever let those Purdue fans forget. Our final four drought is 20 years, but theirs is 42.

Rant over.

Down with Michigan. Mike, keep your head on a swivel and watch for stray open palm punches.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

“In the midst of darkness, light persists” Gettin preachy on the hopelessly negative among Indiana Fans heading into the Purdue game.

Indiana fans are a flame right now. With message boards and Facebook as devisive as ever. The division isn’t about how the teams played as of late (we all know that has been piss poor), but how we all react to that performance. The loudest among us being trolls who comment before digesting. The thing is I can’t say it hasn’t been warranted. The other thing is… what the heck is frantically retreading it going to do to help the current situation? We all need our outlets. I get it. That’s why I bought this site. So I could rant and vent long form, into the ether, on just how Indiana can destroy me week after week, but I make sure all angles are covered and I still got my team’s back.

How you gonna hate on this?

The loudest haters have lost all hope. What is fun about sports without hope? I remember my freshman year on Bloomington’s miraculous campus. I had really hoped for team success. Wasn’t promised it, but had hoped for it. I happened to attend a game on Dec. 10th that year. 2011. And I think everyone who follows IU religiously will know whether that hope paid off or not.

Hope is a powerful thing.

Ghandi (noted civil rights leader and potentially posthumously cancelled individual) once said “in the midst of darkness, light persists”. I think no quote better exemplifies my overall sentiment heading into the Hoosiers’ bout against the Boilermakers tomorrow.

Going into this game. Indiana has been absolutely demoralized. Beaten down by the cruelest mistress in the game, squandered potentential. And as clear as it is to all of us, it is to them too. They know they are coming out slow each and every 2nd half. It’s the craziest case of program wide yips ive seen in a while. But what’s the fun in all this without hope.

You all can try to put out the hint of light remaining for this season all you want. Us real ones are gonna be here stoking it. When… and that is WHEN banner #6 comes, we’ll have the receipts. I ride with this team. Because it’s my team. May be dumb and I may be hypocritical to some extent on more knee jerk reactions. But at the end of the day the Hoosiers are my squad. And I’m going to hold onto my hope that we go into Mackey and handle our business.

In the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” You don’t agree with that guy?! Get outta here.

Down with Purdue!

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

NCAA tournament “Round of Two”. Indiana Hoosiers v. Rutgers pregame thoughts and optimism.

I woke up today feeling like Jack Skellington…

WHAT! IS! THIS!!?!?!

Oh what a wonderful feeling! My breakfast is tasting better, the birds are singing prettier, and by God I’d say I have a pep in my step this morning. Our boys have grown together quick enough to say to hell with the growing pains. When most were expecting an underwhelming season with a developing gameplan, our boys mustered together a season that has us still holding our breaths with each shot into the month of March!

Mike Woodson has already managed to give me something Archie Miller had failed to in his entire tenure as Head Coach of Indiana, a season where I’m not resigned to mediocrity by the end of February. After taking loss after loss in that 5 game losing streak, Indiana spit out its loose teeth and in a  “Rocky”esque effort the Hoosiers finally began punching back and now have an absolute showdown with Rutgers over a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Hail to the Chief!

I titled this “Round of Two” because this game today is just that. This is the first round in the NCAA tournament! Both teams are on the first four out or last four in on most of if not all the major bracketology reports available. Meaning this win is absolutely crucial to not only your team’s victory, but also your closest bid competition’s downfall. That’s double dipping on your own success if I’ve ever heard it.

Being essentially win and your in here, the Hoosiers are behind the wheel of their own destiny. And while yesterday, I wrote my Love Letter to this year’s Hoosier squad, I would be lying if I said my heart won’t be pumping out of my chest, hanging on every shot praying for that Hoosier victory. I know it’s selfish to ask for more when I truly believe this Indiana team owes the fans absolutely nothing, but I’m begging you basketball gods!!! Let my Hoosiers pull this one out today!

I won’t ask for anything else! Just give me more of the excitement I feel in this moment! When your team’s playing for something, everything’s better in life. So sad reading that after typing it, but I STAND BY THAT! I mean come on let’s be real its the same reason half of all of our timelines are clogged with Hoosier posts separated only by the millionth picture of your coworkers baby you could give two about.

We live for this. We live for March. We are a different breed of fan. Our blood runs Crimson (as most does I guess, but NONETHELESS!!!). Give me the stakes. Give me the highs and I’ll gladly take those lows. I mean… this is Indiana after all.

If Xavier Johnson could turn his pair of games into a trilogy of greatness I see no reason why Indiana doesn’t march into Assembly Hall and handle their business. This is a special group of young men and when it’s clicking Indiana can run with anyone. Win and you’re in here, and based on how frequently the top teams have been losing this year, seems like if you’re in, you’re in contention to mess around and win the whole darn thing!

1 more solid game from Xavier and we are talking best trilogy I’ve seen since Lord of the Rings.

So gather your loved ones around your biggest, baddest TV. And let’s all root on our boys who have absolutely battled this season as they look to cement a position in the NCAA tournament. See you all on the other side! Here’s to some more heart attack level stress inducing games to come.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!!,

This hopelessly optimistic fan boy

Also, if you came here looking for stats. I do apologize… there are nerdier sources available for that.

A Love Letter to the 2021-2022 Indiana Hoosiers Basketball team.

I hope I’m not alone in truly loving this year’s Indiana Hoosiers team. Going into this season Mike Woodson was playing with house money. When Mike Woodson was handed the reigns to the program in March of 2021, he was given them with the understanding that in order to get a program back on track it may take some time and effort. A new coach is offered a position with a shot to install his gameplan with the guys he recruits to execute that gameplan. So a team made up of some of the old regimes guys can often times take time to adjust.

This team has bought in from the ground floor of Mike Woodson’s gameplan. They aren’t all truly his guys but I think we can see that they fell in line and really bought into his way. Even when there were lapses in judgement (whatever those self imposed suspensions were) he’s holding them accountable and each one of our boys has responded in kind.

This year could have been just another system transitioning year, but it’s not. And here we are at the precipice of an NCAA tournament bid. Which of course should be expected for the Blue Bloods like Indiana but newsflash to anyone who hasn’t been watching this program year after year, it hasn’t been the expected outcome in quite some time. This team is on track to something great if we can build upon a head coach transition while still competing! You don’t get new head coaches because you’re programs on a hot streak. But this year isn’t just a wasted transitioning effort and that is based on Mike Woodson’s ability to get the boys to buy in and the players ability to run with his new gameplanning and techniques in stride.

So I just wanted to write this piece to just voice my opinion that this Indiana University team deserves an applause. We will see a return to form as if this season is anything its up from last year. However this season may end I’m proud of our boys for fighting each and every game. The Big Ten’s an absolute gauntlet and these guys have taken their beatings while also making sure we are dishing more damage than we are taking. I love it!

From Race Thompson coming onto the scene to become a vital cog in our offense. Or Xavier Johnson developing in his own right to better see the game play out in front of him, rather than forcing unwarranted drives. Each member of this team is committing to his role and understands its through combined and continued effort they could do something truly special.

I had ZERO expectations for this team other than TJD to remain a standout. Other than that, not one man does a Big Ten Champion make so I was resigned to some growing pains for the 2021-2022 season. Instead I get the rush of watching my team play for a shot in the Big Dance our first round coming in the form of the pseudo-elimination game against Rutgers (with a win either team looks to seal a spot in the NCAA tournament). For this I will be forever grateful to this Indiana team. The Hoosiers playing for something in March is just the best feeling for this hopeless idiot of an IU fan.

So whoevers going to be pessimistic about this season or the 5 game losing streak needs to take a breath and get the dookie out their candy stripe pants and let’s just enjoy and appreciate what else this year may have in store. I mean the field for possible NCAA Champion almost looks to be about 68 teams with how equal the playing field seems. Get in and there’s always a shot. Cheers to Mike Woodson. And Cheers to this year’s Hoosier squad for making the more appreciative and understanding of us proud! LUX ET VERITAS!!!

On to Rutgers!

Sincerely,

This hopelessly optimistic fan boy

Xavier Johnson everybody!!! Indiana at Minnesota recap

Going into this one Indiana was in desperate need to follow up the 5 game losing streak snapping victory over Maryland. Indiana University had to come out swinging if it didn’t want to backslide right back into the lows that were so apparent throughout that epic February losing streak. I mean no hyperbole whatsoever when I say this was a must win. Indiana is without a doubt on the fence come selection Sunday, and can not afford to put anything other than the hits out.

And the boys did not disappoint!!!

IU came out with their second win in a row. And what a game it was for Xavier Johnson! Xavier dropped 24 as he led the Hoosiers to victory in this one. Let me really lay out for you what Xavier Johnson’s been up to… In the last two games Xavier Johnson has racked up 48 points 14 assists, and 7 boards. All of this against 4 turnovers committed. What a pair of games!! He is also 7 for 9 from the 3 point arc. Xavier is stepping up like only a few Hoosiers ever have! Xavier Johnson continues to carve out his own area of my Hoosier fan heart. His game has been outstanding and he deserves all the praise heading his way!

That was a fun game to watch on our end. The Hoosiers were absolutely draining them from beyond the arc yesterday. As a team the Hoosiers shot 10 of 21 from 3 point range. If your team is sinking them, you’re going to have a good time. This hot handed Hoosier team must keep rolling, and building on this momentum if we are going to bring this absolutely necessary shooting to compete in March.

What a strange second half of two one sided acts. After going on a 30-10 run to begin the second half. They closed it out by letting up a 36-14 run by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Honestly, the game was still very much in contention until who else but Xavier Johnson sank the dagger free throws to close it out. Never not stressful watching the Hoosiers play ball for me.

These last 2 games were must wins. Looking to what’s left, I believe that Indiana gets in if they win 1 of the remaining 2 games. We still have Rutgers at home and then… at Purdue to close out the season. Both very good teams. I believe, should the Hoosiers pull one of those two out, they will be dancing.

Here’s to Xavier Johnson and our boys for stopping the bleeding and salvaging something from this season.

On to Rutgers!

Team need a drastic shift in momentum? How about some new uniforms! Indiana Hoosiers vs. Maryland postgame

MIKE WOODSON IS PLAYING 4D CHESS FOLKS!!!! Need a drastic shift in your teams emotional direction… NEW UNIFORMS BABY! Worked for the Mighty Ducks against Iceland, worked for the Indiana Hoosiers last night. These black history month inspired uniforms are an absolute thing of beauty. I’ve got to get one. The peonies (Indiana’s state flower) are an awesome addition to an ephemerally classic design.

Hoosiers ball together!!!!

Banner 6 is back on TRACK BABAY!!!! God, the month of February has made me forget why I love college basketball, hell, WHY I LOVE SPORTS!!! I didn’t play a single second in this game, but I slept the best I have all month after that one. The joy I feel in this moment is why I do this to myself. Can’t appreciate the highest of highs until you’ve experienced the lowest of lows. And yes, I get it was Maryland at home, but it snapped our monumental losing streak, so I’m going to appreciate the heck out of it.

I’m going to be honest with you, about 3/4 through this game I was pretty convinced that the Hoosiers would find a way to screw this one up. Thank God they didn’t!

The Indiana Hoosiers played well yesterday, headed by Race Thompson with 19 points. Race has become an absolutely essential piece to this team. His game gets better each day and it’s awesome to see! It was an absolute block party in Bloomington while the Hoosiers tallied 6 total blocks. Race and Trayce dominated in the front court and this aided in propelling the Hoosiers to their first win in six games.

Xavier Johnson balled out. The stat line is impressive in its own right dropping 24 points and dishing out 6 assists as well. But watching, you saw a senior that was facilitating like a master composer at times. He really was a floor general in this one.

So let’s give it up for the boys. They earned the win last night and the Hoosiers are officially out of a monumental backslide. That being said, these next 3 games are Indiana’s last chance to make some noise with some good, and solid wins. Need to be heading into March with all guns blazing. This is absolutely a step in the right direction, but we can not regress to the mindset or whatever it was that led to this epic downfall in February.

Here on out we got @Minnesota, vs. Rutgers, @ Purdue. This is where we circle the wagons and make our last strong stand. Those last two games are going to be drag out battles. Minnesota, while no slouch, does not present nearly the threat the other two teams do. I’m hoping winning 2 of these 3 will be enough to secure Indiana a bid in the NCAA tournament. If we can win out, especially with that last win in West Lafayette, Indiana would have to be in.

Dear God, please no NIT.

Let’s not make it 6 and maybe win a game in February. Indiana Hoosiers vs. Maryland pregame thoughts

Alright. Here we go. Fifth times the charm Hoosier Nation! This will be the fifth opportunity the Hoosiers to stop the bleeding and save our season. We need a win here. I feel dumb for having even typed that. No duh!!! Our season is currently a five alarm fire and unless we win today… I’m afraid we are out of the tournament for sure. And I know it’s gotta be bad because I may be the most hopelessly optimistic Hoosier fan there is on Earth.

Just so you have an idea of where we are currently sitting in the eyes of the nation…

The Hoosiers are reaching a point where every game is heartbreaking, but the particular form of heartbreak varies. At Ohio State, a short-handed IU team, missing Rob PhiniseeTrey Galloway and Khristian Lander, rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and even built a four-point lead. It was an inspired performance from a team that had previously looked fearful. But Indiana was held scoreless over the last 2:47 in regulation and lost 80-69 in overtime. That makes five losses in a row, and the Hoosiers have dropped to “last four in” status.

John Gasaway, ESPN

Unfortunately, looks like any more losses, especially a loss to Maryland at home, would be the final nail in the coffin. We haven’t been able to close out a game all month. It’s pretty mind blowing! The worst possible evidence of this was definitely the end of regulation for that Ohio State game. How are you supposed to win anything when you can’t score a single bucket in the last 3 minutes of the game! 1 bucket, 1 FREE THROW EVEN!!!! Would have secured the Hoosiers an essential win in Columbus against the Buckeyes. But alas, the Hoosiers couldn’t score a single point.

Watching Indiana Hoosier basketball this month has been absolutely gut wrenching. Just watching a game is a stress inducer I haven’t felt since each and every game was the biggest deal ever back when Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo were preseason #1. Which I think means I had such high hopes for this Indiana Hoosiers squad this year. Who wouldn’t have those hopes with the unexpected success we had towards the beginning of the year. Trayce Jackson-Davis staying really set the tone for this team to start the season.

All of this program momentum seems to have been spent and entirely stomped out by this 5 game losing streak. It’s been a true return to form. Unfortunately that form is the same program that falls in February. That being said, I believe that once Mike Woodson gets his guys in there, we will get the program back on track. So I wasn’t expecting anything this year really.

So going into this Maryland game today. I am going to still give Mike Woodson the benefit of the doubt. Its been 3/4 of a season, not time to totally freak out just yet. Once he has the guys he recruited specifically for his system, then we can judge him.

As always… Go IU FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!!

Shout out Jeff Howard

Indiana Hoosiers at Ohio State Buckeyes PREVIEW BLOG

Game tips off at 7:00 ET today. Indiana has the all-time advantage on Ohio State 109-87. Their previous matchup this season resulted in a 67-51 Indiana victory fueled by a MONSTER performance from Trayce Jackson-Davs (27 points, 12 rebounds). Indiana’s relentless defense was able to force 15 total turnovers from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will be hosting their 4th home game in a row. While that is usually a cause for relaxation and a bit of an ease in the schedule, Ohio State will have hosted these 4 games over the course of 8 days. Quite a busy schedule. Whereas Indiana University has had 6 days to prep and rest for the Buckeyes Monday night. Ohio State will be looking to win a game following them being taken to the woodshed in that last game, losing by 16 and being held under 60. Indiana Hoosiers will be coming off a slide of epic proportions looking to salvage anything they can before we just call the season a wrap. Big stakes here.

I’m really hoping that the Buckeyes 30% shooting from the floor (Absolutely pathetic at home) spills over into this one. Both teams really have one player that the offense revolves around. You all know Indiana’s guy!!!

TJD!!!

In order to shut down the Ohio State offense, E.J. Liddell will need to be slowed down. I say slowed down because I don’t believe he can be stopped outright. Currently averaging 19.7 ppg Liddell has been the catalyst for Ohio State’s offense.

Indiana must play through Trayce. The Hoosiers just aren’t scoring from beyond the arc this season, and unless a significant amount of change has taken place in 6 days, I don’t see us scoring much on a defense that is solid on the perimeter. The Hoosiers can not, CAN NOT, miss layups today. Indiana has left points on the table at every possible chance this year it seems. This must be eliminated from our program.

This game looks to be a low scoring bout. I’m always hopelessly optimistic, but after that lost last week I don’t know if I really expect Indiana to win. Ohio State will be a tough matchup across the board. When a game is poised to be so low scoring, we must make free throws and layups. Doing that will easily limit the Hoosiers from beating themselves and fixing the trajectory they are currently on.

PREDICTION:

While the game is currently projected to end in a 72-66 Ohio State victory (kenpom.com), I believe that the Hoosiers will pull this one out. I can’t see Ohio State having enough time to prepare for this one as the Hoosiers did. Their limited turn around time will have them really only having addressed TJD and focus on him. If Indiana’s supporting players want their time to shine and have a memorable performance this is it. I’m looking for TJD to administrate the offense and have a big assist total in a 64-57 Indiana Hoosier victory.

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